Many “practicing Christians” agree with aspects of Marxism, according to a new study from the Barna Group, an evangelical research firm headquartered in Ventura, California.
Barna reported Tuesday that 36 percent of practicing Christians — defined as those “who go to church at least monthly and consider their faith very important in their life” — aligned with at least one aspect of Marxist ideology.
The study showed that 11 percent of respondents said they believe “private property encourages greed and envy,” 14 percent agreed that “the government, rather than individuals, should control as much resources as necessary to ensure that everyone gets their fair share,” and 15 percent said they “strongly disagree” with the notion that “if the government leaves them alone, businesses will mostly do what’s right.”
“This research really crystalizes what Barna has been tracking in our country as an ongoing shift away from Christianity as the basis for a shared worldview,” Brooke Hempell, Barna’s senior vice president of research, said. “We have observed and reported on increasing pluralism, relativism, and moral decline among Americans and even in the Church.”
“Nevertheless,” she continued, “it is striking how pervasive some of these beliefs are among people who are actively engaged in the Christian faith.”
And Marxism isn’t the only philosophy finding favor with some practicing Christians.
The same Barna survey found that 61 percent of practicing Christians embrace at least one aspect of new spirituality. For example, 32 percent of respondents “strongly agree” that “if you do good, you will receive good, and if you do bad, you will receive bad.”
While in Galatians 6:7, Paul embraces the concept of “a man reaps what he sows,” Barna’s study reveals these respondents believe in the spiritual theory of karma, which is not found in the Bible, nor is it embraced by mainstream Christianity.
But perhaps equally as surprising as some practicing Christians’ endorsement of Marxist ideas is the fact that more than half — 54 percent — of respondents embraced at least one aspect of postmodernism.
Surprisingly, 19 percent of respondents agreed that “no one can know for certain what meaning and purpose there is to life” and 23 percent said “what is morally right or wrong depends on what an individual believes.” In addition, 15 percent agreed that “if your beliefs offend someone or hurt their feelings, it is wrong.”
This latest report follows 2016 data from Barna showing that 57 percent of Americans believe right and wrong are a matter of personal experience. Seventy-four percent of millennials believe “whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know.”
According to Barna, 73 percent of Americans identify as Christian.